Jacques O’Neill reveals why he left Castleford Tigers for Love Island and his future plans

It was one of the stories of the season when Jacques O’Neill left Castleford Tigers’ Jungle to head to the Love Island villa.

Shortly after arriving on the reality TV show, O’Neill established himself as one of the favourites to win alongside partner Paige, however he took it upon himself to leave as he struggled with his mental health.

Since then, he’s made a real splash with over a million followers on social media, he has a real influence and has used it to promote the importance of mental health as well as promote our game featuring on Sky Sports’ coverage of the Grand Final.

Speaking of Sky Sports, O’Neill has now featured on the podcast of two men who made Sky Sports’ coverage of the sport what it is: the Eddie & Stevo podcast.

On there, he spoke about when it is likely, if ever, he will return to the sport but that his focus has been getting himself right: “Since I got out, I’ve just been trying to get myself right to be honest.

“I’m looking to get into sport and presenting. I want to work closely with Sky Sports and rugby league especially.

“I’ll potentially return (to play) but it won’t be anytime soon, it will be a year or two.

He then went on to explain the decision to go on Love Island and for the time being leave behind his rugby career:

“It was a big decision. All I’ve known since I was a kid is rugby league and all I’ve wanted to do is play rugby league for the rest of my life.

“But I had a bad 18 months with injuries and sometimes it messes with your head. When a program like that comes in you think why can’t I go have the best summer of my life?

“It was quite hard to turn down when you know you’re going to be out for the next year.

He lastly spoke about the impact the reality TV show has had on him both mentally and in terms of his public persona: “It’s a bit crazy. When I went in I only had 15,000 followers and now I have 1.3 million so it’s madness.

“But doing Love Island was a bit different to what I thought. I thought I would go on and have loads of fun but then it just plays with your emotions.”

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